Alcohol Producers: Do I Need a Municipal Liquor License to Serve in my Tasting Room?

As many of you know, a significant portion of the work OG+S does is dedicated to the federal and state permitting that is required to open and operate a new brewery, brewpub, winery, or distillery. Inevitably, after the Federal (TTB) and State (DOR) permits are received, many clients ask, “Do I need a license from the municipality where my brewery\winery\distillery is located to serve [by the glass] in my tasting room?” This post aims to provide that answer in an easy to use “back of the napkin” style.

Brewery: No municipal liquor\beer license required. Breweries are not subject to municipal licensing requirements for serving in their tasting room. Once the State permit is received from the Department of Revenue, serving by the glass in the tasting room is allowed.

Brewpub: Municipal license is required. A brewpub is required to serve food and hold a Class B license. The Class B allows serving by the glass, or in the original container (for off premise consumption). Brewpub would have the option of applying for a Class B (beer only) license to sell just beer (much cheaper, and not subject to quotas) or a Combination Class B to sell beer, wine, and liquor ($10,000 and subject to quota in the municipality). (There are other options available if you’re not interested in the Combination Class B, but to keep it simple I’m excluding that super nerdy information here).

Winery: Municipal license is required for the winery to serve by the glass in the tasting room (or sell bottles face to face). The winery can produce wine and direct ship to customers without the municipal permit, but if the winery wants to make face to face sales, or serve by the glass a municipal permit is required.

Distillery: No municipal liquor license required. Distillery is permitted to make sales by the glass or in original bottles once their TTB and DOR permits are received.

This is a high level post that is just speaking to the specific liquor\beer municipal permits that may be required to operate. Thanks for reading.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is for general informational purposes only. Posts and other information may not be updated to account for changes in the law and should not be considered tax or legal advice. None of the articles or posts on this website are intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.